21st SEPTEMBER 2021

St. Matthew The Apostle – Urho, The Way

TUESDAY, TWENTY FIFTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist

 

Eph 4: 1-7, 11-13;                  Ps 19: 2-5;                  Mt 9: 9-13


 

MATTHEW: A PAST SINNER NOW AN APOSTLE

 

Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Matthew. To him, we owe the first of the four Gospels. The name ‘Matthew’ means ‘gift of God’. Mathew, a tax collector, became an apostle. The story of his conversion shows that Jesus saves all who are willing to follow him. There are three reasons why tax collectors were so bitterly hated, especially by the Jewish authorities.

  • Firstly, they collected taxes for the Romans. Most tax collectors were Jews, but in the eyes of the people they had denied their Jewish heritage and betrayed their country. They were completely cut off from Jewish society and excommunicated from the Jewish religion and privilege.

  • Secondly, they were cheats, dishonest and unjust men. Most of them were extremely wealthy. The Roman government compensated tax collectors by allowing them to collect more than the percentage required for tax. They took bribes from the wealthy who wished to avoid taxes, cheated the average citizen, and swindled the government whenever they could.

  • Finally, they assumed rights that belonged to God. In the eyes of the Jews, God and the ruling high priest were considered to be the head of the Jewish government. Therefore, taxes were to be paid only to God and his government. To pay taxes to earthly rulers was abuse and a denial of Gods rights. Therefore, tax collectors were excommunicated from the Jewish religion and privileges.
 

Jesus, however, respected everyone. He met Matthew and invited him to be his apostle; giving him a new life and a new beginning. When he received the spiritual riches of the Lord, he realized that worldly things were nothing but vain in comparison. Mathew was a sinner, but Jesus the physician healed him. Since all have sinned, all are spiritually sick and need to be healed also by the Divine physician. Like Mathew, let us acknowledge our sickness before the Lord and ask him for help that we may be healed.

 


Response: Their sound goes forth through all the earth.


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